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Volume 18, Number 3
April 11, 2012

Panama Spanish Schools in Bocas del Toro and in Boquete, by the beach and in the mountains


news

Also in this section:
Chaplain warns that police are prone to politics
United States facing bold new calls for "Drug War" alternatives
PRD ready to rumble --- with each other
Martinelli's Easter Tweet
Can the Panamanian women's vote be alienated?
New threats to expropriate Casco Viejo properties
Constitutional chess game leaves many unanswered questions
Cops dismiss importance of Calle Uruguay gun play
Is FARC's insurgency winding down? What might that mean for Panama?
Fear, loathing and electoral love in Mexico
New World Bank president: what's on the agenda?
Is MOLIRENA about to split into three?
Suspense about an animal cruelty law
Farrar approved as the next American ambassador here
Clash between loggers and Wounaan community leaves two dead
Atlantic Side bridge plans indicate further moves
A proposal to purge the courts and bring in Martinelista replacements
A de facto police coup, even if Martinelli lingers on
Partial agreement sets off furious rows in the left and the comarca



The Ponce house

New threat to expropriate Casco Viejo properties

by Eric Jackson, archive photos by José F. Ponce

The Martinelli administration, by way of a proposed law presented to the National Assembly by Education Minister Lucy Molinar and a threat made by Patrimonio Historico director Sandra Cerrud, is looking to expropriate at least 20 properties in the Casco Viejo. They don't say which properties will be take or who gets them after their expropriation.

The plan that Molinar announced is a $150,000 fine for those who do not build on vacant lots or renovate dilapidated buildings. The plan that Cerrud announced is the government taking properties for which a renovation plan has been filed on which work has not progressed, which have been abandoned or condemned, or which the government decides have not been improved commensurate with the value of the neighborhood. Such compensation as there would be would be to owners of clear record only, at the unrealistically low values assigned by Catastro, minus the exaggerated fines. In effect, all Casco Viejo properties owned by the poor would be confiscated without compensation. More upscale property owners have also expressed fears that the Martinelistas will take their real estate in retaliation for them opposing a four-lane highway around the Casco Viejo, which is almost certain to result in UNESCO revoking the neighborhood's World Heritatge Site status and thus reduce property values.

The move fits into a national pattern of land grabs by people in and close to the government, including many a fishing village wanted for resort development, rural lands and water rights wanted for hydroelectric dams, sea floors to fill in for new waterfront developments and choice urban properties. The expulsion of communities in favor of Martinelista insiders or foreign investors in league with government officials has led to disturbances around the country. In a few cases the abuses have been so notorious that land grabs have been aborted and in even fewer cases there have been criminal investigations. However, none of the actual beneficiaries of and behind-the-scenes authors of any of the land grabs have been subject to investigation or prosecution.


Colonial-era ruins that would be expensive to restore


One of Panama City's last beaches, soon to be a landfill with a four-lane highway







    

Also in this section:
Chaplain warns that police are prone to politics
United States facing bold new calls for "Drug War" alternatives
PRD ready to rumble --- with each other
Martinelli's Easter Tweet
Can the Panamanian women's vote be alienated?
New threats to expropriate Casco Viejo properties
Constitutional chess game leaves many unanswered questions
Cops dismiss importance of Calle Uruguay gun play
Is FARC's insurgency winding down? What might that mean for Panama?
Fear, loathing and electoral love in Mexico
New World Bank president: what's on the agenda?
Is MOLIRENA about to split into three?
Suspense about an animal cruelty law
Farrar approved as the next American ambassador here
Clash between loggers and Wounaan community leaves two dead
Atlantic Side bridge plans indicate further moves
A proposal to purge the courts and bring in Martinelista replacements
A de facto police coup, even if Martinelli lingers on
Partial agreement sets off furious rows in the left and the comarca



© 2012 by Eric Jackson
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